True Heart Susie (1919)

True Heart Susie (1919)




Critic Consensus: No consensus yet.

True Heart Susie Photos

Movie Info

True Heart Susie is one of D.W. Griffith's "pastoral" films, wherein plot takes second place to characterization and romance. Lillian Gish plays Susie May Trueheart, who so loves local boy William Jenkins (Robert Harron) that she secretly finances his education. Returning to his home town as a minister, Jenkins never catches on that Susie is crazy for him. While Our Heroine pines away, Jenkins marries The Wrong Woman, young temptress Betty Hopkins (Clarine Seymour). Betty begins indulging in affairs with other men, but Susie loyally keeps this information from the reverend Jenkins. Even when Betty dies of pneumonia, Susie refuses to reveal all she's done on Jenkins' behalf. Finally, Susie's Aunt (Kate Bruce) can stand no more: she tells Jenkins the whole story, whereupon he takes Susie in his arms and pledges eternal devotion. In the hands of a lesser director, True Heart Susie might have been impossibly maudlin (and unbelievable; after all, can anyone be as much of a blockhead as Reverend Jenkins seems to be?) As it stands, the film's dramatic and heart-tugging value has not diminished, not even after the passage of nearly eighty years.
Classics , Comedy , Drama , Romance
Directed By:
In Theaters:


Lillian Gish
as True Heart Susie
Loyola O'Connor
as Susie's aunt
Robert Harron
as William Jenkins
Loyala O'Connor
as Susie's aunt
Wilbur Higby
as William's father
George Fawcett
as The Stranger
Walter Higby
as Jenkins's Father
Kate Bruce
as Bettina's aunt
Carol Dempster
as Bettina's Chum
Raymond Cannon
as Sporty Malone
Show More Cast

Critic Reviews for True Heart Susie

All Critics (5) | Top Critics (3)

The psychological subtlety of the silent cinema owes much to a complex visual grammar that D. W. Griffith employed to tell surprisingly old-fashioned stories.

Full Review… | August 21, 2013
New Yorker
Top Critic

One of D.W. Griffith's most beautiful films, a pastoral fable of a sort that no one could ever make again, because the sensitivity and spirit have vanished along with the landscape.

Full Review… | August 19, 2013
Chicago Reader
Top Critic

Griffith has handled the picture in the same masterly way that he usually has things done.

Full Review… | March 25, 2009
Top Critic

An exceedingly old-fashioned, but quite appealing, silent romance, featuring one of Lillian Gish's finest performances.

Full Review… | August 19, 2013
TV Guide

Griffith couldn't be more sentimental and moralistic.

Full Review… | May 27, 2007
Ozus' World Movie Reviews

Audience Reviews for True Heart Susie

Simplistic storytelling and outmoded sexual politics. I'm not doubting Griffith's talent as a filmmaker. But even if he was ahead of his time cinematically, his puritanical attitudes seem dated even by 1919 standards. His soapbox approach to cinema really bugs me, using his movies to shove his values down your throat. Few hands are heavier. I kept rooting for bad girl Bettina, because William was such a crashing bore and Susie was such a doormat idiot. Nonetheless, it is at least mildly entertaining fare, well-paced, well-shot and well-acted.

Martin Teller
Martin Teller

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